The Myth of the Independent Voter, the Myth of the Progressive Voter, the Myth of the Libertarian Voter etc.

In our duopolized political discourse, partisans of the Democratic and Republican Parties return, time and again, to the "myth of the independent voter" when they seek to inflate the level of support for the Democratic-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government. Writing at Ezra Klein's Washington Post blog, Dylan Matthews downplays the independence of independents:
most independents are, in practice, partisans. Indeed, the influential "The Myth of the Independent Voter" estimates that, at most, 10 percent of voters are "pure independents" without a partisan leaning. Independents who lean one way or another don't act much differently from partisans, particularly those who identify as "weak Democrats" or "weak Republicans".
On this basis of this model, might one not also construct analogous arguments regarding prominent ideological blocs? For instance, we could posit the myth of the progressive voter, the myth of the conservative voter, the myth of the libertarian voter, and the myth of the moderate voter. Consider two examples. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that 20% of Americans describe themselves as progressives; but 90% of those self-described progressives consistently vote for the Democratic Party. (See this CAP poll for actual numbers.) Similarly, assume that 20% of Americans describe themselves as libertarians; but 90% of those self-described libertarians consistently vote for the Republican Party. (See this Cato poll for actual numbers.) Given that the Democratic and Republican Parties stand, first and foremost, for the reproduction of the global warfare and corporate welfare state, are we not justified in concluding that nine out of ten self-described progressives and libertarians are neither progressive nor libertarian, but rather weak partisans of the reactionary corporatist ideology characteristic of the Democratic-Republican two-party state? And can we not say the same of self-described moderates and conservatives?

Whether you consider yourself moderate, conservative, progressive or libertarian – if you vote for the candidates of, or otherwise support, the Democratic or Republican Party, you support an order which is diametrically opposed to the values, interests and agenda you claim to espouse. The reason for this is simple: the values, interests and agendas of the Democratic and Republican Parties are diametrically opposed to those of the people of the United States. Political freedom and independence today begins with freedom and independence from the Democratic and Republican Parties.


J. Travis Rolko said...

They're simply using the best tactics they see available, and there aren't many to choose from. People should be judged by both intent and action.

d.eris said...

Yes, but in this case the action (voting Democrat or Republican) completely undermines the intent (independent, libertarian, progressive). On my assessment, supporting the Democratic-Republican two-party state cannot be squared with an intent to foster representative constitutional government, whatever your ideology may be. See, for instance, my theses toward a critique of the two-party state.

The best tactic and strategy is to support third party and independent candidates for office and to oppose the Democratic-Republican Party at every turn, with the goal of breaking the duopoly's corporatist lock on elected office.

btw, I saw that recent Poli-Tea post/link at Reddit on the anarchist and tea party movements. Thanks for the relay. Interesting discussion there.